Tag Archives: F&B

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 1 , 2022

Social media is a place where food and beverage brands can showcase their offerings, promote themselves, and let their personalities shine.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to leverage social apps for your F&B brand
  • Why influencer marketing is worth exploring
  • Expert tips to improve your F&B paid social tactics
  • How to save on social media strategies

I remember the first time I saw someone take a smartphone photo of their food at a restaurant before digging in. (Probably because the eatery was pretty dark and the flash was momentarily blinding.)

These days, it’s pretty common to see people snap their plates and beverages. In fact, some restaurants now craft their dishes, drinks and decor specifically to be Insta-worthy.

Since advertising for the food and beverage industry leans heavily on visuals, it’s no surprise that social media is one of its top digital marketing channels. 

In fact, a recent survey shows up to 30% of millennial diners actually avoid restaurants without a strong Instagram presence.

While growing an organic following on social media is a great way to support your overall F&B marketing plan, it takes a significant amount of time and effort. Without paid social tactics, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a presence that will bolster your marketing goals.

Luckily, there are a handful of F&B paid social strategies that can help promote your brand.

Bud Light’s Twitter feed

This dark-post ad doesn’t actually show up on Bud Light’s Twitter feed. (Image: Twitter)

1. Take advantage of “dark posts”

Many of the main social platform players, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, allow you to publish “dark posts.”

These posts don’t appear on your organic feed. Instead, you pay the platform to place them inside the feed of your target audience.

Dark posts look like regular social media posts, so they don’t disrupt your audience’s scrolling experience. Instead, they capture the reader’s attention while maintaining the feel of an organic post.

The key benefits of using dark posts for your F&B brand include:

  • Highly specific targeting
  • A seamless in-feed appearance
  • A/B testing opportunities

Not only that, but you can experiment with these posts without worrying about how they’ll look on your permanent profile.

2. Make the most out of Facebook Ads

Over 90% of restaurants use Facebook for marketing due to its incredibly diverse targeting and placement options. 

Facebook Ads come in a variety of shapes and sizes to help you spend wisely while promoting your F&B brand.

To make the most of these ads:

By using insights from Meta Business Suite (Meta runs Facebook and Instagram), you can analyze your existing audience and use that data to design assets like lead generation ads.

3. Set the right goals

No marketing campaign is complete without realistic goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you could start with dark posts, as mentioned above. 

Depending on your goal, you may have better luck with a regular paid social ad (though types vary by platform, of course). F&B brands that want to attract more foot traffic or promote a refreshed menu or banquet room may want to spread the word via an influencer (more on that below).  

It’s also worth keeping in mind that most people don’t just use a single social app, so you may want to leverage at least two channels to achieve your desired results. For example, since Meta runs Facebook and Instagram, you can create ads that’ll surface on both platforms.

@spinach4breakfast on Instagram

A sponsored post by influencer @spinach4breakfast (Image: Instagram)

4. Leverage influencers

Social media referrals can be a highly effective way to attract new visitors to your F&B business. 

Today, 37% of Americans decide which restaurant to visit based on word-of-mouth recommendations. With paid social, you can put word-of-mouth endorsements in the driver’s seat of your ads.

While organic UGC created by customers can do wonders for your restaurant’s reputation, it’s usually hard to come by. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.

Influencers promote your F&B brand, offering, or campaign to their audiences. While influencers span nearly all industries, the F&B space is one of the most common. Because of that, chances are good that there’s a F&B influencer in your area.

Influencers range from nano-level (up to 10,000 followers) to A-list celebs with followings in the millions. Because of that, the chances are good that you can find an influencer to work with nearly any budget.

Social media accounts of micro-influencers may not have a huge reach. However, they take advantage of high organic engagement. In fact, the average engagement rate of micro-influencers on Instagram is 3.86%. Meanwhile, mega-influencers have a 1.21% engagement rate.

5. Host a social media contest

Contests can be a creative way to capture attention, grow your audience, and even score content or testimonials in the process.

You can give away a cookbook, a dinner for two, or a case of your brand’s beverage in exchange for a comment, share, follow, or post.

This F&B paid social tactic isn’t expensive, but it can be highly effective. It can bring new visitors to your location while re-engaging existing clients.

person taking photo of pastries on smartphone for F&B paid social

It’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. (Image: Unsplash)

6. Don’t ignore the organic presence

You wouldn’t want to create a stellar paid search ad that goes to a subpar landing page. The same goes for your social media profiles.

While paid efforts can get you faster results, your organic content is what people will see when they land on your profiles. These posts help you showcase your brand’s personality, ethos, and style.

If this sounds like a lot to take on, don’t worry. You don’t have to invest a ton of time into maintaining your organic presence. Simply creating a schedule for consistent posts and having a few parameters you keep in mind should suffice. 

Posting parameters can include things like:

  • A mix of graphics, videos, and photos
  • Captions that follow your established brand voice
  • Timeframes for when your posts are likely to be most visible
  • Not overly editing or filtering posts

Along with a posting plan, it’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. 

The takeaway

F&B paid social media tactics can bring about serious benefits for your business.

These strategies can help you grow your audience, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and get more people in your doors or buying your products.

Leveraging even a few of the above strategies in 2022 can streamline your digital marketing efforts and keep you competitive without breaking the bank.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 18 , 2022

These marketing strategies can help your F&B brand power through industry ups and downs.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to gauge the status of your F&B marketing
  • Tips for using content to grow your reach
  • Creative ways to partner for growth
  • Expert advice for marketing your food and beverage brand

Let’s be real: the last couple of years have been a doozy for the food and beverage (F&B) industry.

Some beloved eateries pivoted to curbside pickup and online ordering. Others didn’t survive, despite working to accommodate ever-changing rules and precaution measures.

Those that did know it’s going to take creativity and outside-the-box thinking to keep succeeding. That’s where a strategic marketing plan comes in.

Pull up a chair. Let’s get down to business when it comes to keeping your F&B business afloat in 2022 and beyond.

aerial shot of people eating a meal together

You can’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed, complete website that keeps your target audience top of mind. (Image: Unsplash)

1. Audit your online presence

Before you can optimize your F&B marketing, you need to know where you stand. For that, it helps to conduct an audit. 

An SEM audit can give you a bird’s eye view of your current online presence, including:

  • How you look on the search engine results page (SERP)
  • What keywords you’re ranking for
  • Any outdated information floating around online
  • How you’re stacking up against competitors

This is also a great opportunity to check that your Google Business Profile is claimed, thoroughly completed, and accurate when it comes to things like your location and hours.

2. Build out your website

For the food and beverage industry, you can’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed website that keeps your target audience top of mind.

That means not getting too in the weeds when it comes to the aesthetics of the site or sacrificing content. You don’t want to dive into a ‘brand image’ that overpowers the actual offering or service.

An overly styled site that doesn’t include the main core informational pieces people go to your site for — such as menus or contact info — is doing your company a disservice.

Remember, search engine optimization (SEO) is what’s going to help drive people to your site. Without the proper parameters in place, your stylish site won’t be doing its job.

Among other elements, an effective F&B website should have:

  • Menus (if you’re a restaurant or bar) 
  • Recipes (if you’re a food or beverage company)
  • Contact information
  • Visuals that illustrate the products or services

One of Google’s main goals is to serve up pages that provide the information people are searching for. As a result, this gives preference to SEO strategy and creating this type of valued content.

For example, Google has figured out that people searching for “apple” are looking for Apple-brand products most of the time, not the fruit. 

In the same way, the search engine tries to show people what they want from food and beverage brands, such as menus, hours of operation, reservations, and nutritional facts, as opposed to a “clean” webpage lacking information.

3. Focus on visuals

Speaking of visuals, the food and beverage industry heavily benefits from the use of eye-catching imagery online.

Approximately 46% of people in the U.S. either browse pictures of food or watch food videos on social media each month, according to audience targeting company GWI.

As such, this industry generally isn’t as focused on things like pillar page content. Rather, it’s more about capturing people and traffic, creating sales-based content, and trying to show up for searches. 

Pro tip: Including Schema markup on your pages will help boost your SEO. There are plenty of F&B Schema templates to leverage, from menus and reservations to photos and recipes, and more.

4. Tackle local SEO

When you’re looking to increase conversion rates and traffic, as most F&B brands are, factoring in local SEO is key.

Local SEO uses regional factors to rank higher in search results to better target local audiences. Not only does this help when searchers are using location-based queries, but it also targets more bottom-funnel consumers.

Make sure your local SEO is optimized by:

  • Regularly checking your Google Business Profile for accuracy
  • Creating content with local search results in mind
  • Targeting rich or featured snippet placement
  • Having location and keywords metadata and geotagging local images

Pro tip: While regional targeting is important, don’t make the mistake of overly narrowing your audience. Just because you think only millennials are interested in your products doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to appeal to Boomers and Gen Z as well.

5. Pay attention to reviews

The data is clear: Online reviews matter — a lot. In a recent survey, 76% of polled consumers said online reviews are ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when deciding whether to try a local F&B business.

You obviously want to know what people are saying about your business online. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, do what you can to respond to people who take the time to review your company. 

Thanking someone for a positive review makes them feel heard, while responding professionally to a negative review (and explaining or offering to discuss and resolve the issue offline) shows others that you’re paying attention and prioritizing customer experience.

Need more help with your F&B marketing? We’d love to chat.

people eating and drinking in an open-air restaurant

Consider partnering up with a similar, non-competing brand in your space for a limited-edition item or a fun event. (Image: Unsplash)

6. Explore a variety of ad placements

Your budget, audience, and goals are often the main factors for your marketing decisions. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to see if there’s room to experiment with new areas of ad placement you may not currently be using.

From paid search and display ads to social media and sites like YouTube, a broad audience means you have a wealth of options when it comes to your digital marketing. 

Instead of putting all of your proverbial eggs in one basket, try a few different channels, monitor performance, then modify from there. 

7. Get creative with content

Blogs aren’t the only content game in town. One of the benefits of working with food and beverage brands is the opportunity to have fun with your branding and marketing. After all, the mission of most of these companies is to bring people together at the table (or the bar), right?

Along with blogging, you can explore other options like collaborating and influencer marketing. Leveraging industry influencers on social media might be just what you need to get the word out about what you offer without blowing your budget.

You can also consider partnering up with a similar, non-competing brand in your space for a limited-edition item or a fun event.

8. Keep sustainability in mind

Statistics show consumers are increasingly hungry for change

They’re beginning to understand the consequences that human activity is having on the environment — especially when it comes to food. 

People’s passion for eating more organic, locally and ethically sourced, less processed, and more sustainable foods isn’t likely to go anywhere, and they want brands to step up and take responsibility for their environmental impact. 

These days, customers are looking to support brands that take that message to heart and share their values.

Food transparency is a growing trend, with 81% of consumers saying it’s important to them in 2020 — an 11% spike from only two years earlier. Plant-based foods saw a 29% two-year increase in the year prior.

This is a huge opportunity for brands, stores, and restaurants selling plant-based food. Almost a third (30%) of consumers reportedly want to make their diets more plant-based, and more people are growing accustomed to the idea of plant-based meats.

Review your offerings to see how you can incorporate local farms or vendors and plant-based items — we predict you’ll see positive results.

The takeaway

Food and beverage marketers have had to be extra agile and flexible over the past few years. 

Now, as the industry slowly returns to some degree of what it was pre-pandemic, those creative strategies can still serve you well for years to come.

Keep the above strategies in mind for 2022 and beyond to keep your business surviving and thriving, no matter what the future holds. Cheers to that!

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2021.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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